Most parents teach their children that you need to respect yourself by living in a manner that is consistent with your purpose, values, and personal goals. When you live with integrity, you set a positive example. Dealing with groups of children and teenagers, we encounter all the stereotypes: the kids who bully, the kids who sit on the sidelines, the gossipers, kids who take charge, and kids who are victimized. We encounter parents who have developed either negative or positive habits and push these habits onto their children.
We may not all be able to get along due to the different values and habits, but how can we live with more integrity despite our backgrounds and beliefs?
1. Identify your habits
We all do certain things a certain way every single day — the way you tie your shoelaces, the way you greet or acknowledge your neighbour or mailman, the way you like your coffee or play with your hair. Some of our bad decisions are down to force of habit and become second nature to us. Maybe you are always avoiding confrontation and people due to past experiences, or you are always late, or you fail to respond to emails or calls, or you spend too much time on social media, or you overspend your money. We sometimes fail to see our negative behaviour patterns and the way they might affect other people.
To be able to live with more integrity is to identify these patterns, recognize that they might be a problem for others, and aim to replace them with positive habits. Acknowledge your neighbour by saying hello, answer your phone, spend less time on social media, and give more attention to other things around you. You can even compliment a stranger daily and see the smile on their face to step into a more positive behaviour pattern.
2. Accept that we all make wrong choices sometimes
If you recognize negative habits that have affected other people around you, accept what happened and learn from it to make smarter decisions in the future. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and remind yourself that we all make mistakes at some point in our lives. Sometimes these mistakes guide us to see our vision for life clearer and eventually fulfill our purpose. Nothing in life is constantly perfect — we are always evolving and learning.
3. See each relationship as bidirectional
In our relationships, it is essential to have mutual trust and respect. This is not always easy, especially among children and teenagers who are all still figuring out how to build supportive relationships. Oftentimes, adults still haven’t learned how to be consistent with their values. It is important to make effective decisions in regards to helping others, as this adds value to your own life. When you listen to someone and give them a little bit of your time, you will encourage feelings of trust and compassion to your own life.
4. When you start believing in yourself, others will follow your example
You set yourself up to become successful in life only when you believe in yourself. Only then can you inspire and motivate others with your actions. Setting a positive example is not always smooth sailing, especially if you are up against complicated matters and people with conflicts.
The way to influence positively is to stick to your words and get things done by holding on to your positive habits, values, purpose, and goals. If someone doesn’t respect your values, it may be impossible to stride towards a healthy relationship. They might be even emotionally harming you with their anger which is toxic. We can sometimes try to hold space for anger if it’s a conscious expression of one’s feelings and unmet needs, but not when it’s holding blame or insults. We need to respect ourselves enough to be able to move on with integrity.
Always aim to keep your circle positive, as life is way too short for constantly dealing with negativity. When you learn to make effective decisions, you see the difference in positivity around you. We are all in a journey of evolution we don’t plan.
“Who am I?” and “What’s my purpose?” are two simple fundamental questions we need to remind ourselves of when we are feeling lost and need to get back on track with living with our best life.